Playing Pokémon was just a warmup: Twitch users are going to try to install Arch Linux one character at a time in what’s been dubbed a “cooperative text-based horror game.”
Arch Linux, according to its wiki, is “suited to anyone with a do-it-yourself attitude that’s willing to spend some time reading the documentation and solving their own problems.” We’re not sure that sounds like the average Twitch chatroom, but I guess we’ll find out.
The Twitch stream will show a virtual machine, and the chat can vote on which keystroke should come next — every ten seconds a new key will be hit. There will be four goals:
- Boot Arch Linux from the hard disk
- Write a python ‘Hello World!’ script
- Configure a fully working X server
- Pull up the Twitch screen in the virtual machine
Where did an idea like this even come from? Pokémon.
In March 2014 an anonymous Australian programmer built a unique Twitch stream that allowed the comments to control the gameplay: it was called Twitch Plays Pokémon, and it was a phenomenon. On average 80,000 people were watching it at any given point, with around 10 per cent of people participating in the chaos by saying which button should be pressed next.
Lots of people sincerely wanted to win, and even went so far as to coordinate with wikis full of strategies. This being the Internet, however, lots of other people worked to actively sabotage the game (above you can see a rare Pokémon being released).
A working bash terminal means all sorts of ways to sabotage, like deleting every file on the hard drive or starting a fork bomb. I’m sure “sudo rm -rf /” will show up more than once, regardless of whether that particular command works on Arch or not. There’s a good chance intervention will be needed more than once.
But installing Arch is relatively straightforward, and the voting process here is less chaotic than what was used for the Pokémon effort. So there’s also a chance people could work together and get this done.
If you’re curious, you can start watching, and participating, on Twitch tomorrow.
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